THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK OF RUTH
“BLESSED BE THOU OF THE LORD MY DAUGHTER”
Ruth 3. 10
What a great honour it is when God makes his own word through his ministers quick and powerful in converting and regenerating sinners, and delivering them from the power of darkness, and translating them into the kingdom of his dear Son! For this purpose men are raised up to preach the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; and there is no greater evidence of being a God-sent servant than to see the word of the Lord applied with quickening power to sinners dead in sins. This is what God’s own sent servants long to see, and for which they travail in soul, and God is pleased to give them souls for their hire, which is to them the sweetest reward for their labour.
How desirable it is in the eyes of a minister that those whom he has begotten through the gospel should adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour, and prove to him a lasting comfort, and do, as Ruth did; for Boaz testified of her saying, “Thou hast shown more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning!” She had shown kindness at first in leaving her native country and becoming a companion to Naomi, her mother-in-law, and in swearing, as it were, that Naomi’s people should be her people, and Naomi’s God her God, and adding, “Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me”. O what kindness was this! What love! What affection! Possibly it was of a twofold nature, that is, natural and spiritual. But Ruth did not make a random promise; her heart was fixed, and she fulfilled her resolution; for there was manifestly a spirit of union between them, which nothing ever could or ever did break. So now Boaz takes it as a kindness on the part of Ruth that although she was a poor, heathen, widow woman, she had come to him in the barn floor; for she had come out of love, and this was her kindness to him; as Solomon says: “The desire of a man is his kindness” (Prov. xix. 22). Ruth’s conduct in following Boaz into the barn floor represents a sinner who has been favoured under the gospel, and whose heart has been moved time after time to show love to the instrument through whom the blessing has come. It is very blessed to see the effects of the gospel in the kindness shown to the church and people by God by those whose hearts have been enlarged with the goodness and mercy of the Lord. In many cases zeal is soon extinguished, love becomes cold, and kindness seems to diminish. It is a mercy for a minister to have a few real, staunch friends who have been wintered and summered, and yet have cleaved unto him and the pure word of God which he has preached, even if it has tried them; and who are steadfastly-minded both in darkness and in light, in sorrow and in joy, in poverty and in riches, in adversity and prosperity; and whilst some have forsaken the house of God and the Word of God, they, like this
dear and precious Moabitish damsel, have remained as immovable as she was when Naomi had to leave off speaking to her; for “when she saw that she was steadfastly-minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her”.
But Boaz proceeds to say, “Inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich”. By this we may gather that her heart was towards Boaz and no other. How emblematic of sinners whose hearts are towards the Lord Jesus Christ, as Ruth’s heart was towards Boaz whom she desired for her husband. Such souls are seeking after a closer and closer union with the Lord Jesus Christ until the time shall come when he will make the marriage quite complete. This is especially the case when the soul is in its first love, and drawn with such vehemency of desire after the Lord Jesus that nothing but himself can satisfy, no, not even his blessings; it must be Christ and Christ himself; for when Ruth entered into the barn-floor, she entered not in for the corn, nor the wine, nor any other blessing; but it was Boaz himself that she desired and sought after. So with Paul. He did not say, “That I may know his grace”; or “That thou wouldest give me life, peace, and joy”; but it was the Person of Christ that he wanted; for he said: “That I may be found in him”, which is the feeling and desire of everyone that is born and led of the same Spirit. With such a view of Christ and such a desire after him neither young men nor young women, whether poor or rich are followed as Jesus himself is followed; and he has said: “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be” (John xii. 26); and those who have their hearts thus set on Christ, and hope to sit down at the marriage-supper of the Lamb, of such it is said, “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth” (Rev. xv. 4).